Rick Santorum is absolutely right in thinking that Texas governors were made of tougher stuff.
For example, not even Texas legislators give two rips about what an ex-senator from Pennsylvania who lost reelection by 18 points thinks about the weather, much less about Texas. Santorum’s side-show grandstanding is a perfect example of why Rick Perry is not going to commit to going to every single one of the 18 debates scheduled in the next two months.
Perry is on TV with a jobs message in Iowa where he also has more paid organizers than the rest of the field combined. His resurrection commeth, and by skipping some debates Perry can show that he is in the Republican primary but not of the primary.
True, Perry is no master debater. He started as the “Thank God for Mississippi” governor and has become the “Thank God for Michele Bachmann” presidential candidate. Yes, watching him debate the first few times was like watching an enfeebled relative spill soup on his pajama top at a nursing home. Talk of skipping future debates only reinforces that image, but Perry is not dwelling on mistakes he made in those debates. He’s moving on towards Iowa.
Skipping debates does make him look like a chicken and open him up to mockery from the single-digit peanut gallery. But there’s one thing to keep in mind about Rick Perry when it comes to criticism: He fundamentally doesn’t care.
In his 2010 reelection, he not only skipped all general-election debates and editorial board meetings, but he did not print one single yard sign. Anyone who has ever run a campaign knows the amount of bellyaching that last move caused, but Perry stood fast. He is used to making bold decisions that elicit criticism, and he doesn’t waste time second-guessing his team in conference calls. Perry will let the rest of the world chew over his scheduling decisions. Perry won’t look back.
He’s like the honey badger of American politics. He doesn’t care what we say. Rick Santorum might even recognize that as pretty tough.